Chris Joest, president and third-generation owner of Imperial Machine & Tool, a CNC machining business in Columbia, New Jersey, sees broad potential application for additive manufacturing. “Go to any industrial concern in this state, and probably you will find at least 5 percent of their manufactured parts could be produced more effectively through additive manufacturing,” he says. However, his shop is not interested in that 5 percent. At least not yet.

Four years ago, this machine shop of around 40 employees expanded its capabilities to include metal AM, specifically selective laser melting (SLM). Today, it has two powder-bed metal additive machines from SLM Solutions. This resource and this capability are still so unusual in Imperial’s area (and among the suppliers seeking business from Imperial’s customers) that the shop has enjoyed a head start in finding and taking on those applications that can benefit considerably from re-engineering a part to take advantage of the design freedom that AM allows. 

“We look for the applications that let us say to customers, ‘We can rock your world!’” Mr. Joest says. As a result, rather than courting the customers that have 5 percent of their parts as candidates for additive, Imperial has been able to succeed by serving customers for which more like 80 percent of their parts might benefit from being remade this way.


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3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing, News